NEW DELHI: Opposition parties today piled up pressure on the government over Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj’s help to fugitive former IPL boss Lalit Modi but the beleagured leader received support from BJP ally Shiv Sena, which said she was being targeted to “destabilise” the Modi dispensation.
Congress, which has sought her resignation, asked the Centre to make public all letters it had written to the UK government on Lalit Modi and insisted that Swaraj’s help to him for getting travel documents was a clear case of quid-pro-quo.
“In the interest of transparency, Government of India should release the letters written to the UK Chancellor on the Lalit Modi case”, Congress leader P Chidambaram said today. The former Finance Minister had vigorously pursued with the UK government the issue of his deportation to India.
Congress spokesperson P L Punia said Swaraj and Lalit Modi were in contact for long. “As a quid pro quo, Swaraj has done favour to a tainted person who is accused of Rs 700 crore money laundering…,” he said terming as “complete bogus” her defense that she helped him on humanitarian ground.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar latched on the controversy to target the Modi government over its probity claims and said the entire government was in the “dock” following the incident.
“What is clear from the support (to Swaraj) extended by the government, party (BJP) and RSS that they will help their own even if a crime has been committed. The whole government is in the dock. The way it had defended (her) means there is no reason to believe that it was not aware of the matter,” he told reporters in Bihar.
Swaraj, however, found strong support from NDA ally Shiv Sena with its spokesperson Sanjay Raut saying she was being targeted to “weaken and destabilise” the Modi government.
“The way the External Affairs Ministry had performed under Swaraj, it has become a strong pillar of the Modi government. She is being targeted to weaken the government and destabilise it,” Raut said, adding Prime Minister Narendra Modi should see through it.
Union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the way she had been attacked was “completely unacceptable”, claiming that the whole nation knew about her political background and work.